This is a critical report about the detention of a young, Ashley Smith, his being diagnosed as "mentally ill" and his death in a women's prison, and the investigation that ended in Toronto at the beginning of December 2013 .
Born in 1988 in Moncton, New Brunswick and adopted as a child, teenager Ashley Smith was a very troubled and rebellious. By the time she was 13, she was always in trouble at school, he often refused to participate or dropped. On one occasion, Ashley was accused of the crime, actually a childish prank of "throwing crabapples at a postal worker." For this so-called crime, Ashley was found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment in New Brunswick Youth Centre where she was frequently punished and segregated, thrown in solitary confinement for three consecutive years. personnel of detention, and l ater CSC guards ("prison guards "), and prison managers and workers labeled rebellious youth of Ashley" acting out "; prison psychologists and psychiatrists psychiatized Ashley, labeled his provocative behavior" a mental health problem, "a sneaky term." mental illness "in youth prison New Brunswick, the staff severely punished Ashley to be "non-compliant", but his throwing punished by confinement (isolation) to resist the orders of personal and institutional rules.
Apparently, there is no official record of any detention or prison staff or health care professional trying to understand the resistance of Ashley authority as youth rebellion, no attempt to understand his "acting out" as expressions and seeks to wrestle with a severe identity crisis, which is very common in young people. Ashley was basically trying to find herself, trying to find out what was asserting itself, stubbornly stood his ground. When he turned 18 in 2006, Ashley was forcibly transferred from the detention center youth of New Brunswick, Nova Institution for Women in Nova Scotia, one of several federal prisons operated by CSC. She lasted about a month before it was transferred to another prison in Joliet, Quebec.
From 2006 to 2007, the last 11 to 12 months of life of Ashley, CSC manager Ashley had moved a total of 9 psychoprisons and prisons, in virtually every prison she was physically segregated and held her as an "acting out" "difficult" or disruptive prisoner - psychologists and psychiatrists were complicit labeling and stigmatizing Ashley as a "borderline personality disorder", another non-scientific psychiatric diagnosis grab bag commonly applied to girls and women who self-harm. By this time, Ashley was often tying ligatures of cloth around his neck, sometimes using glass, which often has hidden on his body, to cut out the pieces from a prison "suicide gown." In various prisons and psychoprisons (psychiatric institutions), Ashley was constantly locked in a segregation cell, often tied to any 4 points and once bound for hours in a winding wooden device called a "chair '. prison guards entered his cell almost every day to cut the strength of the ligatures tied around the neck, sometimes they attacked (officially recorded as "use of force incidents"). After an internal investigation at the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon Saskatchewan, a guard has been charged with assault, but not convicted, he died shortly after.
Ashley often thrown while trying to assert and protect itself from the newspaper "interventions" or use of force by security guards. More alarmingly, it was becoming increasingly desperate and suicidal. Ashley flatly refused to consent to the proposed treatment plan of CSC "intensive intervention" as "dialectical behavior therapy", a euphemism for behavior modification on the basis of reward and punishment as the removal of "privileges" - in fact the violation of human rights of detainees. He was constantly locked up in segregation without peers or held to talk and sometimes denied the "privilege" of pen and paper to write.
Over the last 11-12 months of his life, not only CSC locked up in segregation Ashley (without appeal), but also with the force transferred its 17 times in 9 different institutions in 5 different provinces. These institutional transfers, solitary confinement and physical attacks must have caused her incredible anxiety, fear, and trauma. While on "suicide watch" in September and October at the Grand Valley Institution (GVI), a maximum security federal prison for women in Kitchener, Ontario, Ashley was tying a cloth noose around his neck almost daily. Finally, while wearing a "suicide gown" in a segregation cell, Ashley choked to death on October 19, 2007 GVI - several guards just looked, refusing to enter his cell. Ashley was 19.
In January 2013, nearly six years later, the coroner's inquest into the death of Ashley began after CSC has delayed the start of the investigation for more than a year after the video source of the prison of physical aggression, pepper-spray, physical restraint, including an instrument of torture called 'chair' forced drugging and other incriminating evidence and dehumanizing guard brutality inflicted on Ashley. Thanks to Coroner John Carlisle, videos and graphics disturbing were then screened in court. According to independent reports by Federal Correctional Investigator Howard Sapers, during the last twelve months of his life, Ashley was "shuttled through nine different schools in five provinces before landing in Kitchener and spent most of the time in a segregated cell wearing nothing but a padded suicide gown ". 1.2
These moves institutional occurred approximately every 3-4 weeks, or sometimes after a few days -. "Detainee Ashley," a series of traumas institutions initiated instigated by prison guards and prison managers, who could not control, and of course, they wanted to get rid of many frequent transfers also undermined any possibility of "continuity of care" were traumatic, a form of torture as Ashley always ended up in a segregation cell in each prison and psychoprison during four years of imprisonment up to and including his death.
These transfers include the following prisons and psychoprisons: Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ontario, Institut Philippe-Pinel Unit of Mental Health for women in Montreal, Nova Institution for Women, a prison CSC in Truro, Nova Scotia, Joliette Institution , a CSC prison in Quebec, St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital in St Thomas, Ontario, Grand Valley Hospital. and the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 3
According to the testimony investigation of several prison guards and senior management personnel at GVI and the Regional Directorate of the CSC, Ashley often tried to suffocate herself as "his face was blue or purple." To escape detection, which sometimes hid the cloth binding and / or piece of glass on the inside of his body. On one occasion, GVI Ashley forcibly transferred to St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital, where the medical or mental health personnel forcibly strip-searched her, looking for, but could not find any glass in his body.
Orders leaders prisons' in many prison guards often weakened CSC stated policy and the principle of "preserving life" of prisoners. For example, several orders issued by prison guards as e-mail messages from the GVI Acting Warden Cindy Berry and deputy director Joanna Pauline were confusing, contradictory, and exasperating, such as "do not enter [into the cell by Ashley] while she is still breathe, walk or talk, "even though his face sometimes turned" blue or purple "and / or was trying to catch his breath. At the same time, the guards were ordered to enter his cell if Ashley has participated in "medical distress", a key term that has been loosely defined by the managers and prison guards often misinterpreted by many. However, when some guards concerned disobeyed or ignored Warden Cindy Berry of "do not enter" command by entering the cell of Ashley as she breathed and cut the noose around his neck, Berry criticized them for their "excessive use of force." At the investigation, Berry testified that prison police were allegedly trained to "use their judgment or common sense" to recognize prisoners who showed signs of "medical distress" in immanent harm or death, such as turning blue or purple and without breath. Some guards were understandably confused and hesitant to enter to enter the cell even when Ashley was lying on the floor of the cell barely breathe at the same time, some guards believed Ashley just "wanted more attention," or was from September 2007 to be "manipulative" . , About 6 weeks before his death, Ashley was openly suicidal, he was making several attempts to strangle herself daily with a cloth ligature in full view of correction officers, and the knowledge workers of the GVI. However, some of the guards had a 'wait-game' have deliberately waited or hesitated minutes to enter the cell, while Ashley's face turned blue or purple.
At the inquest, Elizabeth Fry Society Executive Director Kim Pate, who visited a number of times Ashley in 2007, testified that September 24, 2007, about three weeks before his death, Ashley has submitted two written complaints of abuse addressed to guard GVI Warden Cindy Berry but were never delivered, were found in a box of months after his death. Pate also testified that Ashley should not have been held incommunicado for long periods, it should have been hospitalized and offered "mutual support" in prison and the community. However, the alternative community to juvenile detention centers and "mental health treatment" in prisons - such as women-centered 24/7 crisis centers, houses of healing and support safe houses for women victims of abuse and trauma - were virtually non-existent in CSC and never seriously discussed during the entire investigation. If the CSC staff had offered support and peer to Ashley if she had consented, Ashley would probably be alive today.
Two weeks before his death at GVI, Ashley has become more openly depressed and suicidal, he made several suicide attempts a day, especially after he was accused and convicted of physically assaulting guards, and after a judge has sentenced to 6 additional months. At this time, Ashley believed it was going to be released on parole, but his hopes for release or parole have been disappointed, his spirit crushed by the judge's ruling. On 19 October 2007, while on 'suicide watch' who wears a "padded suicide gown" in a segregation cell GVI, Ashley was strangled to death with another string tied around the neck, while guards stood outside his cell phone and watched die. The guards refused to enter his cell, who were in the order of Warden Cindy Berry, "do not go if she can breathe." They did not realize that Ashley had stopped breathing for several minutes.
Ashley's parents want to launch a public inquiry or legal action due to interesting videos and other evidence of criminal negligence and medical and inhumane treatment - as indefinite isolation in segregation cells, a 4-point restraint and "chair ' , forced drugging, lack of care "mental health", raids, physical assaults by prison guards and the complicity of prison managers and workers. Also worth noting was the systemic failure of CSC to share critical information between all levels of management, as a result there have been huge information gaps and delays decision on prisoners 'high-risk' as Ashley. Checking and "use of force, "were the orders of the day. According to the testimony of a former senior manager of mental health of the CSC National Headquarters, the guards were involved in 150" use of force "incidents involving Ashley," 43% "it happened a few weeks before his death. "Use of force" incident reports for Ashley, and probably many other prisoners, they were not widely available and shared by most of the leaders of the prison. Apparently, the frequent use of Ashley ligature was never intended as existential cries of help from leaders of other prisons and prison officials, including senior staff of the CSC Regional and National Headquarters.
Obviously, It 's time for an independent and thorough public in all federal prisons and provincial, as well as assessment centers for young people and prisoners, particularly those that use segregation and physical restraint as punishment. The recommendations of the jury, no matter how well-intentioned, may not be sufficient to arouse public concern and national government action, despite the extensive media coverage of this investigation. Recommendations of the Jury of the coroner should be released sometime in December; should make reading exasperating, especially those that promote the discredited medical model including "mental health treatment" and during the investigation, health professionals and attorneys that are repeated frequently unscientific "mental illness." and psychiatric diagnoses stigmatize as "personality disorder" and "borderline personality disorder" as the medical and scientific facts have never been disputed. A psychiatrist who interviewed briefly to Ashley psychoprison Pinel ("mental health units") in Montreal was diagnosed with the label "anti-social behavior disorder." It 'also important that the mental health professionals at CSC as well as most of the lawyers investigation did not attempt to deconstruct "mental disorder" or "mental illness" as attempts to cope with existential personal crisis. Along with psychiatrists and other mental health professionals witnesses, have failed to understand that "mental health treatment" in prison really means fraudulent psychiatric diagnosis, psychotropic drugs forced physical restraint, the daily degradation and humiliation.
The suicide of Ashley, how many more deaths of prisoners, it was not random, it was predictable and preventable. Probably there will be no verdict of murder in the report and recommendations expected at the end of the investigation in December Coroner's Jury.
"Hard line against crime" The policy of the Harper government that legislates build more prisons, overcrowding ("double-bunking"), and mandatory prison sentences longer have undoubtedly contributed to the epidemic of self-harm, suicide and violence in almost all prisons Federal Canada. What is needed is not "prison reform", but the abolition of the prison and alternatives to communities that have been denied Ashley and many of its sister prisoners. There are and there will be many other Ashley Smiths - a national disgrace and crime.
Don Weitz. "We still lock up children." Toronto Life . (May) 1976. An exhibit of isolation (the "digger") in "institutions of reform" of Ontario - his juvenile criminal justice system.
Editor's Note: This blog is a significantly modified version of the article by Don, originally titled "How the prison system in Canada Killed Ashley Smith: A Case Report of Canada on the war against the rebellious youth." It 'was published in Voices, bulletin Psychiatric Association's Survivor Archives Toronto, Vol.4 # 3 (October) 2013.